Former Sun Valley Mayor Jon Thorson became the Blaine County Planning and Zoning Commission's newest member Jan. 8 when he replaced outgoing Commissioner Jima Rice.
Thorson will complete the remainder of Rice's term, which runs through August 2009. He stepped down as Sun Valley mayor earlier this week after losing to Wayne Willich in the November election.
On Thursday, Blaine County Commissioner Tom Bowman said the county commission made its decision to name Thorson to the P&Z during an executive session on Dec. 18.
Bowman said the county had to change its bylaws to be in line with state statute so Thorson could be nominated to the P&Z commission. With the change, approved on Jan. 8, the county's bylaws now state that no more than one-third of the total county P&Z commission can be made up of members from cities with a population of more than 1,500 residents.
Bowman said that prior to the change, county bylaws stated that no more than one-third of the P&Z membership could be residents of towns within the county. The change means that Sun Valley and Carey, both of which have less than 1,500 residents, do not count toward that total.
"They're considered county residents," Bowman said.
In a letter dated Dec. 19, the county commissioners thanked Thorson for taking on his new role.
"The board of commissioners appreciates your interest in serving on the planning and zoning commission and the valuable knowledge that you will bring to the county in the areas of city governance, regional planning, affordable housing, public transportation and the McHanville master planning effort," the letter states.
Bowman said the county commission interviewed one other candidate to replace Rice, but opted to go with Thorson. He declined to name the other candidate.